Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ Review
Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ Review
27IN GAMING MONITOR
Yes, you read that price correctly. What could possibly justify such a high price? Quite a lot, as it happens. Although its size may be relatively modest, every other aspect of this display is at the bleeding edge of tech available right now. It’s the first monitor that can deliver a 4K resolution at a 144Hz refresh rate. It’s also the first gaming monitor to feature a full array local dimming backlight, with 384 individually controlled lighting zones that allow it to deliver the 10,000:1 contrast ratio required of true HDR.
The use of guantum dot colour filters also means it can reproduce the wide colour gamut reguired for HDR, with true 10-bit colour processing. It’s a slightly mind-boggling spec list and Asus has outfitted the PG27UQ with an outlandish exterior to match, even including four different external lights. A downlight fires from the base of the stand onto the desk below. Up top, a light projects the ROG logo onto the wall behind. Around the back there’s a little red ROG logo on the top of the stand and finally there’s a large RGB-backlit ROG logo on the back. It’s overkill but it adds a bit of theatre.
Once the lights are off, the PG27UQ’s styling is a little more muted than some previous Asus monitors. However, the level of tech in this display means it’s noticeably thicker than most modern monitors and there’s a chunky bezel round the panel edges.
On a practical note, the stand offers all the adjustability you expect from a premium display and you get a two-port USB 3 hub round the back. However, as with most G-Sync displays – oh yes, this display has G-Sync too – you’re limited to just two video inputs and you don’t get any extras such as headphone stands or side USB ports. Meanwhile, the menu system has the ease of use we’ve come to expect from Asus, even if the buttons are a little wobbly.
This display really is all about its raw image quality, though, and what a festival of delights it serves. Starting with the 4K resolution at 144Hz, it’s no surprise that it makes games look amazing. It’s also not bad for watching video and can be useful for some desktop applications too. However, most of the time, you’ll want to limit the refresh rate to 120Hz in standard dynamic range, and 98Hz in HDR, to maintain optimum image quality.
Also, note that 4K can be a touch annoying for normal desktop use, as you rely on Windows scaling to keep text readable and (even now) it occasionally doesn’t work well in some software. Thirdly, gaming at 4K is hugely demanding. Even with a Titan V GPU, you’ll still struggle to hit over 100Hz in graphically rich titles at maximum settings.
As for HDR, that’s where this display really shines. Each of the 384, approximately 1in-wide, lighting zones can hit a dazzling 1,000nits or turn off completely for the utmost in contrast. No longer are 21:9 videos plagued by grey bars above and below – the blackness of night is truly that, and backlight bleed and IPS glow are all but eliminated in practical terms.
Plus you get a boost in colour range. Watching HDR video with the dazzling greens of leaves and grass on a sunny day makes you realise what SDR video and games have missed all this time. You can also turn off the HDR and clever backlighting to get a normal, top-quality IPS monitor for general desktop work, as well as colour-critical image and video editing. In SDR mode with standard backlighting, the colour temperature deviation from 6,500K was just 62, and the delta E of 0.19 is a great colour accuracy result too.
The PG27UQ is uneguivocally the best all-round gaming monitor, at least until competitors from Acer and AOC hit the shelves. The GPU demands for 4K gaming, the lack of HDR content and the modest screen size for the price means it’s not for everyone, but if you have a GTX 1080 Ti SLI setup and want the best gaming monitor you can buy, this is it.
It’s the first gaming monitor to deliver 4K at a 144Hz refresh rate
Stunning 4K HDR image quality makes the PG27UQ the ultimate 27in gaming monitor, although it’s not cheap.